You meet people and you don’t always know how things will turn out – will this person be just a “hi” and “bye” acquaintance, will this person disappear out of your life or will this person actually stay in your life for some time?
Distance is a tricky thing. Sometimes absence makes the heart fonder or it becomes a matter of out of sight and out of mind. Before I left for Korea in 2009 I heard many promises, most of which were empty: “I will Skype with you”, “I will visit you”, “What’s your address, I want to send a postcard?”, “I want to send you a package”. I received a few postcards, once a package, never a visit and I am still waiting for that Skype call. I never expected a package or a postcard, but correspondence would have been nice. It would have been nice to hear more from the people who made all the promises; a simple e-mail would have done the trick. People fade out of your life voluntarily and life goes on.
Some lessons in life you learn the hard way.
The first couple of months some kept their promises, but then people went their way and the “out of sight, out of mind” saying became a reality. Life goes on, it’s understandable, but I kept my promises with sending postcards from different countries, thoughtful packages, long e-mails and kept asking if they have managed to sort out their Skype problems. Some e-mails stayed a monologue, some postcards never even got acknowledged. It hurt, but after much disappointment and waiting in anticipation; I’ve learned a few things about myself, others and the word “forever”.
I’ve learned not to take all promises to heart, to accept and to let go of the thought of forever because nothing really is. The most important lesson of all was not a lesson of other people, but rather something I’ve learned about myself.
I’ve learned that even though people will disappoint you, you should structure your life in such a way that it doesn’t affect you; that you don’t allow yourself to get disappointed by other people. A disappointment can only be a disappointment if you let it be. If people disappoint you, it’s only because you let them, because you had this romantic, perfectly-orchestrated notion of that person. It’s unfair, but we all do it. We create this image of a person in our mind, an expectation, and get disappointed when that person is not living up to it, it’s unfair but we all do it.
It’s difficult to let go of your expectations of other people – it’s a process, it takes a lot of time, introspection and a deep search within your own soul – and I’m still learning. You learn not to hold on to people as if your livelihood depended on it, not to host a feeling in your heart that you need them in your life to survive or to accomplish anything. You learn to accept people for who they are, embrace the moments you spend together and not to look back into the past or the future to measure anything that is happening in that moment that you are spending together. Probably the most important of all, is that you meet a force within that allows you to be totally independent, functioning on your own, not relying on anyone’s expectation of you or on your expectation of anyone else.
It’s too easy to blame someone else for a disappointment, to shift that feeling you are experiencing over to someone else, to make them responsible for your reaction to the situation. It’s too easy not to accept the fact that you are feeling disappointed because of your own romantic, perfectly-orchestrated notion of someone.
In the end it’s actually not easy at all; you are giving away that independent force within to someone else, you are handing over your power and relying on them to dictate your happiness. It does not make sense, yet we all do it from time to time.
The few people in South Africa who kept in contact with me would never understand how much I appreciated it while being in a foreign country; they are the people I’m thankful for. The people I’ve met in Korea who kept in contact with me even though we now live thousands of kilometers away from one another, they are the people I’m thankful for. They are the people who allow me to be me; nothing more, nothing less. Just me. They are the people who make keeping in contact effortless – not out of duty or need, but just because they know that this moment is what it is all about, they don’t have any expectations and they make it easy not to have any expectations of your own.They are the people who allow you to function on your own as an individual force; they are the people who allow you to be independent. They are the people who allow me to be me; nothing more, nothing less. Just me. They are the people I’m thankful for.
(This blog post might be ambiguous and I’m probably contradicting myself, but so what?)